I think this is a must read from Educause Review. If you are in Higher Education and if you spend your time in an information technology organization this is important stuff. Love to hear some thoughts.
Another reminder today that we as a culture (or whatever we are) don't seem to value our security all that much (note that I said security, not privacy). I watched a couple dozen tweets roll by urging me to go see who's stalking me on Twitter ... I jumped over to find a page that wanted my Twitter username and password so it could show me the last 200 visitors to my Twitter page. First of all, how in the hell would it be able to tell me who the last 200 people who stumbled across my Twitter page were and why in the world would giving it my username AND password help? Scam.
This is just another example of how cavalier we all are on the social web. I'm sure many of you read about the security breach involving Google Docs and Twitter ... an illustration that much of our information across the social web is only as secure as our password habits. I know two weeks I was using the same username and password combo at nearly all the social sites I routinely participate in. After reading the Twitter story I changed all that. Here's a quick rundown of what I am doing ... this is not de-facto secure, but I feel much better going forward.
I got a free Dropbox account (if you click that link it includes a promo code for us both to get a little extra storage). What Dropbox does is add a folder to your home directory in Mac OSX that is constantly watched and synced back up to the Dropbox server. There are two things I really appreciate about the service ... first, it is really fast. Things sync much quicker than with my iDisk. Second since it is an actual directory here on my machine (or in my cases machines) my files are local and I don't need to be connected to the web to grab my files. What Dropbox is giving me is a super fast way to keep the next ingredient to my solution working across multiple machines.
I downloaded and installed 1Password. 1Password is a client based password management tool that allows you to create, manage, and use passwords in a secure way. Once installed it adds a little icon to your browser that will auto fill usernames and passwords for you with a click. It also generates secure passwords for you on the fly so I can have different and random passwords for facebook, google, twitter, and you name it.
To put the two together you first have to switch to using an Agile Keychain in Mac OSX. This essentially creates a separate non-system level keychain bundle that can be stored elsewhere -- in this case in your Dropbox folder. Then, once that is complete just follow these steps to point your 1Password client to that keychain. Once that is complete you can install 1Password on your other Macs, pointing to your existing keychain being synced by Dropbox so things stay in sync.
The life saver so far has been the iPhone App for 1Password. This has a two layer password scheme for exposing the password text ... that is really useful for when you are using a lab machine or one other than your own and you can't recall the randomly generated 30 character password.
Even if it isn't an ideal solution, it feels a hell of a lot safer than trusting that no one could ever pull a password recovery scam on me and get access to everything I have across the social web. Your milage may very, but I recommend you come up with a solution that makes sense to you and if we are sharing documents on Google Docs, please work out something so our secrets aren't compromised. And D'Arcy, I'll be waiting for you to follow through with your tweet ...
After my post about Learning Design Summer Camp, Twitter, and building context from backchannel conversations, CogDog commented with a pointer to an amazing post by Tony Hirst that explains how to overlay Tweets on youtube video. Since my colleague Pat Besong had mentioned to me yesterday that the videos were starting to go up to the TLT YouTube space I thought I'd give it a try. I followed the directions which include using the advanced Twitter search to isolate a series of Tweets, running them through a script, and then uploading them as a CC track in YouTube -- worked fairly well with only a few limitations.
I didn't do the entire series of tweets from the Lightning Round, but I do enough as a test to see it in action. I'll try pulling this off with a larger session where there were hundreds of tweets blasting around the room. This has tremendous potential in my mind ... the ability to reconnect the backchannel to the actual event is an amazing step forward in preserving pieces of the event as it was experienced live. I can envision not only using the Tweets, but also targeting blog posts that reference specific moments by overlaying annotations. This requires some more exploration. Thanks, CogDog!
For now, take a look at the video and don't forget to enable the closed captioning.
I really can't do the event justice with a blog post ... I think in a lot of ways without being at the second annual Learning Design Summer Camp you missed the energy that made panels and sessions so exciting. I feel like I have to say something that is a bit more tangible than the thousands of tweets that were flying around over the course of the last two days. Put simply the event exceeded my expectations and made me once again really appreciate the community I am working in. I think I am blessed that I can hang out with 130 really interesting and motivated people right here at PSU. As I sat there it dawned on me that we'd have a hard time providing this type of professional development to two of our staff for the cost of this event. When times are as tight as they are, the ability to lean on and leverage the smart people locally can make a huge difference. This was true of when we brought CogDog to campus and it was certainly true for Camp.So what are the big takeaways for me? I'll try to share a couple of thoughts.
First is that we are living through a radical time of change as it relates to sharing thoughts, conversations, and attention. A few years ago I would have been able to watch a decent number of people at an event like ldsc live blogging. Now that doesn't seem to exist. What I observe is the rise of real time mediated conversations via Twitter. So much so that I am beginning to become a little concerned about it. I'm not concerned about the use of Twitter per se, I am a little concerned that more thoughtful and reflective posts aren't getting created. There was so much great stuff going on in the backchannel yesterday, but what I am now missing are longer posts with more reflective thought. Where did it all go and what do thousands of Tweets add up to without the context of the moment. What I should do is take the videos of presentations and work to overlay the Tweets associated with each. That would be interesting on a couple of levels. First it would give people a sense of what the audience found interesting. And it would also provide a bit of meaning to an otherwise empty archived conversation that happened in mini sound bites. I may try to pull something like that off.
What else? Let's see ... live music at a University sponsored event rocks. We were lucky to have Dean Blackstock play a couple of sets on day one -- totally set the mood for what we were doing. I've wanted to have music at one of my events since first hanging out with Music faculty, Steven Hopkins, several years ago. Just the thought of listening to great music while getting set to engage in some serious conversations has always seemed right. Dean did not disappoint! It got everyone moving and ready to participate right from the get go.
Returning to the backchannel, I noticed much less verbal participation this year. The use of the Berkman Center's Live Question Tool certainly brought thoughts from the back to the front it, along with Twitter, caused people to clam up a bit. We got some decent dialogue going towards the end of a couple sessions, but for the most part it was a fairly quiet room. Again, this is something I want to keep my eye on -- does backchannel limit verbal dialogue? One might say conversation is conversation, but it can be a bit disconcerting to the people in the front of the room.
I'll remember this event for all the stuff that went on outside the official sessions -- the Tuesday night dinners around town were awesome, the 5K run/walk/bike was a great addition, and the t-shirts and other items from Cafe Press were killer. I'll also remember this event as the place where I saw lots of major ah-ha moments related to the Blogs at Penn State as a platform. We had demos of eLearning courses, thin repositories, geo tag spaces, websites, ePortfolios, and much more ... I think the idea that the blog is so much more than a blog hit home this time. It is perfect timing as I just returned from a west coast trip where I met with the brilliant people at SixApart. I was able to say with confidence that we are doing some very special things with our Movable Type platform. I think people see that each space they create can be anything they want it to be ... that it is essentially an application development platform that they can do nearly anything with. That is exciting to see.
All in all I want to thank everyone who participated and planned the event. It was truly an exceptional way to spend two days.
Given the recent security breach at Twitter I've been rethinking all my passwords across the social web. I am now using a password management tool as well to help me keep it all straight. If you are interested in the goings on with Twitter and the Google Docs fiasco, I'd recommend taking look at, The Anatomy of the Twitter Attack, on TechCrunch. I'm not providing any sort of in depth commentary only because it is well outside of my space, but I would urge everyone to think about their own password strategy.
I noticed something a little different the other day as I was browsing my feeds in Google Reader -- a new "X people liked this" icon and link.
The thing that is interesting is that the link then exposes you to the usernames of those who liked the post. It is easy to add yourself to the "I like" list too ... just click the "Like" link under the post text. This is a lot like the simple functionality one sees in the activity stream on Facebook.
The other thing that Google Reader is doing is let you follow people. I am assuming this is less like Twitter and more like being in a Delicious network. Instead of overtly broadcasting that I like something to the whole Internet I can review the things people I am following are marking as interesting to them. This is an important step into building some strong link relationships between smart people and the content they consume. By following people in your network I think it will be easier to build a personal recommendation engine of sorts. If I trust someone enough to follow them then I am guessing I find their conversations interesting -- and in this context the conversation starter is the fact they've shared something they appreciate.
Since I mentioned Delicious in this context I wonder if people will latch onto the idea the Reader environment could be a better place to pass along content? I don't yet have a sense, but I am betting if Google added a "bookmarklet" type thing that would post content into the reader environment this could be successful. I don't use Google Bookmarks much, but if they integrated more easily with the networks I am bound to establish in Reader I might.
Yesterday after meeting with Facebook Brad and I drove up to the Golden Gate Bridge. I've been there several times, but this was a first for Brad. It was amazing how the top looked completely Photoshopped out of the picture due to the fog. Just over in the city it was gloriously sunny.